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  • Navy Medicine West Visits NHRC to Discuss Readiness Through Research

    SAN DIEGO – Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen, commander, Navy Medicine West (NMW), and chief of the Navy Medical Corps, paid an official visit to the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) June 2, to learn more about the command’s medical research initiatives.

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    “I am incredibly pleased that Navy Medicine West has the research and development enterprise on our side and to be an advocate for what you do,” said Pearigen. “I have a tremendous amount of respect and excitement for the work you do, which is both challenging and important.”

    Navy Medicine’s research laboratories align under the leadership of NMW. One goal of Pearigen’s visit was to learn more about NHRC’s research portfolio and discuss current challenges and future opportunities for conducting research that bolsters fleet readiness.
    “I see my job as supporting you and making sure we stay aligned with both Navy Medicine’s and the Defense Health Agency’s goals for preserving resources and enabling efficient research activities,” said Pearigen.
    In addition to discussing strategic alignment with the military medicine, Pearigen and NHRC leadership focused on how the NHRC’s current research projects align with fleet requirements to support a healthy, fit, and medically ready fighting force.
    “We had an excellent discussion with Admiral Pearigen,” said Capt. Rita Simmons, NHRC’s commanding officer. “As a lab commander, ensuring NHRC’s research aligns with the bigger picture, with the needs of our warfighters and line leaders, is one of my priorities. We’ve spent a lot of time over the past several months taking a deep look into our research portfolios to ensure everything we do aligns with the overarching goals of military medicine and operational needs. We are continually evaluating our research priorities and asking ourselves, is this project or product operationally relevant? After all, readiness is the reason we exist.”
    NHRC has three core research areas—operational readiness and health, military population health, and operational infectious diseases—that target one primary outcome—readiness.
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    “From optimizing human performance, physically and psychologically, to protecting against infectious diseases that threaten troop health, NHRC is committed to delivering high quality, value-based research that ensures our service members are ready for their mission now and for the battlespace of the future,” said Simmons.
    During his visit, Pearigen toured NHRC’s laboratories, meeting with scientists and getting a first-hand look at the lab’s cutting-edge research capabilities. NHRC’s unique assets enable research that addresses injury prevention, rehabilitation and resilience, evaluation of personal protective equipment, physiological and cognitive performance, and infectious diseases identification and characterization. These assets include:
    ·         The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), an immersive virtual reality system, which is one of six, and the most advanced, in the Department of Defense (DoD).
     
    ·         An environmental chamber that simulates operational environments with temperatures ranging from -23°F to 130°F and relative humidity ranging from 5-90%.
     
    ·         An advanced diagnostics laboratory that leverages the latest technologies to diagnose respiratory pathogens and screen for bio-warfare/bio-threat agents.
     
    ·         A large capacity, state-of-the-art freezer archive with nearly one million specimens. The archive, combined with NHRC’s ability to verify results with modern molecular, traditional culture, and serological methods, allows for rapid validation of new diagnostic technologies.
    “As we execute our strategic plans across the Navy Medicine research and development enterprise, we need to be thoughtful and make sure we are contributing to the bigger strategy by aligning with the mission of military medical research,” said Pearigen. “We need to target outcomes that matter, that are meaningful to the warfighter, to commanders, and our sponsors. The work that’s being done at NHRC is truly making an impact on the readiness of our military.”
    As the DoD’s premier deployment health research center, NHRC’s cutting-edge research and development is used to optimize the operational health and readiness of the nation’s armed forces. In proximity to more than 95,000 active duty service members, world-class universities, and industry partners, NHRC sets the standard in joint ventures, innovation, and translational research.
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